Since the process of building relationships between young people of different communities begins with communication, it is important for us to continuously build and expand the communication channels. To achieve this goal, in November of last year, RCT organized the establishment of the Cohesion Circle in Peja (the sixth CC in Kosovo). Activists, youth workers, and active citizens from various ethnic backgrounds in Peja gathered to discuss the needs and challenges of the youth and to plan their first initiative. This is where the idea originated, and subsequently, the cultural visit to Peja was organized, with about 80 young people from all communities from Mitrovica and Peja participating.
The cultural visit started with a tour city around the center of Peja. The participants were accompanied by the Cohesion Circle leader, Redzo Kojic, who showed around the city and the old bazar. The participants had the possibility to hear about the history of the streets, the architecture throughout the years of the buildings, the changes that the street encountered between years, the history of local shops and so on. Afterwards, we went to visit the mosque in the city center and spent some time inside by interacting with the locals there and listening about the history of the mosque, its foundation and how it survived throughout the years. It is important to highlight that for several participants it was the first time that they hear about the history of cultural sites of Peja and we can admit that the participants had high motivation on learning and asking different questions.
Afterwards, the participants had the chance to work in groups and come up with an initiative that will result as an initiative from the Cohesion Circle members. This initiative aims to address inclusivity and bring together youth from different ethnic backgrounds in order to create together this initiative. Due to this, participants resulted to give powerful and interesting ideas starting from culture, art, social gathering, and so on which was aiming to address the need of brining all communities in one place, hence foster reconciliation. Following the visit to mosque, we headed all together to have lunch where the participants networked with each other. They had the chance to talk about the places that they prefer to visit on their hometowns, what they like to do in their free time and how by learning the cultural differences among each other can foster the inter-ethnic dialogue.
The cultural visit continued at the Decani Visoki Monastery. The visit was a wonderful experience for all participants as it was the first time that the majority of the participants visit a monastery. We were welcomed by the priest of the monastery who dedicated his time to explain and tour the monastery with us. He talked about the history, its foundation and its services to the community. In addition, afterwards we were welcomed to have drinks and snacks and to socialize with each other where we continued our talk on the different and similar cultures that our communities represent.
The cultural visit achieved its goal on bringing together youngsters from different ethnic backgrounds in order to listen and learn about each other’s cultural sites and traditions. By bringing the youngster in one place and offering the environment to share their opinions freely and exchange ideas, we believe that the conflict transformation and inter-ethnic dialogue process can be achieved, step by step.